Robert B. Livingston
January 11, 2012
An Accomplished Physician Who Should Be Known Better
Richard D. Heffner converses with Dr. Ma Haide (George Hatem, MD), an American-born veteran of China's historic Long March, and one of the Twentieth Century's greatest physicians.
Under Ma's tutelage venereal diseases were virtually eliminated in China, general health conditions dramatically improved, and the people's life expectancy had almost doubled in less than fifty years-- quite an accomplishment for the world's most populous nation.
Filmed in 1986, two years before his death, this is an all too brief glimpse into the ideas and character of a remarkable man. Rather than exploring Ma's biography, the host largely probes Ma for his opinions regarding a preventative approach to public health care in China, and America, particularly as it relates to the onset of the scourge of AIDS.
For all his accomplishments, and spectacular history, Dr. Ma soft-spokenly explains the correspondence of social and economic factors to the state of the public's health, and he describes how economic liberation and better education in China succeeded in improving people's lives.
Dr. Ma says also that differing cultural and historical conditions may well require different strategies for solving public health problems. While he does not advise any course for America to take, he does ask how its health measures could ever be successful so long as doctors make more money treating disease than preventing it.
Dr. Ma also speaks candidly of the appearance of AIDS in China.
(Please note that I reviewed this film several years ago, but after discovering that the Internet Archive was not displaying it, I resubmitted it again. Please refer to the history of this url in the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.)